Master in Bio-Process (including Microbiology) or Process and Chemical Engineering : Life Support Systems Engineering Trainee at ESTEC, Noordwijk, NL

Your mission:

Have you (almost) completed your degree studies? Are you inspired by space exploration and keen to pursue a career in this exciting field? If so, perhaps you should take a closer look at the German Trainee Programme. Organised by DLR, it offers you the chance to work shoulder to shoulder with experts from the 20 member states of ESA - keeping your finger on the pulse of Europe‘s space programmes. Over a period up to 24 months, you will actively contribute to the latest research and/or technology projects. This is complemented by a generous scholarship. What better way to launch your career in international space business? The next GTP commences on 01.02.2015.

The Life and Physical Sciences Instrumentation and Life Support Section provides, in cooperation with the relevant directorates, instrumentation needed for planetary exploration missions and for life and physical sciences experiments in space, Environmental Control and Life Support (ECLS) and habitability for manned spacecraft, and related analysis and verification.

Within this section, you will be involved in the team of Life Support Systems engineers and you will contribute to the MELiSSA project, both at scientific and engineering level. The MELiSSA project aims at developing a closed ecosystem, mimicking the Earth, for future long-duration space missions. Its scientific concept is based on an aquatic ecosystem, which performs organic matter degradation and consequently provides nutrients to oxygen and food producing organisms (i.e. cyanobacteria and higher plants).

You will be investigating the food producing compartment, and more specifically the higher plants production in hydroponic system. Previous work performed on this compartment focused on the development of a mathematical model (first principle model) of plant growth. Such model needs to be further developed to include the colonization of the plant by micro-organisms. In this frame, you will be in charge of the experimental and eventual computer simulation work related to colonization processes study (e.g. water transport in/within/out the plant, micro-organism tracking in plant organ/tissue, molecular mechanisms).


  • study the literature, including MELiSSA project data (technical notes, designs)
  • define a scientific investigations plan, as well as computer simulations plan (e.g. for mass balances, energy balance, stoichiometry, kinetics)
  • study and prepare a test set-up, including molecular tools whenever relevant, to perform the investigations with a simple higher plant specimen (infrastructure for higher plants culture in hydroponics is available) as well as the experimental procedures; perform the investigations and computer simulation
  • conclude on other future work you may assess as needed
  • participate to the general life of the project (project meetings, communication items, events organisation, MELiSSA summer university…)

Applications received until 7th September 2014 will be considered.

Your qualifications:

  • German citizenship is absolutely necessary
  • applicants should have just completed (conclusion not older than two years) or be in their final year of a university course at Master’s level in a technical or scientific discipline
  • candidates must be fluent in English or French, the official languages of the agency
  • good laboratory experience in the field of processes
  • good experience in MATLAB, SIMULINK, Microsoft VISIO

Your benefits:

Look forward to a fulfilling job with an employer who appreciates your commitment and supports your personal and professional development. Our unique infrastructure offers you a working environment in which you have unparalled scope to develop your creative ideas and accomplish your professional objectives. Disabled applicants with equivalent qualifications will be given preferential treatment.

German Trainee Programme

February 2015

12 up to 24 months

attractive scholarship


Contact person :

Larissa Seidlez

Strategy and International Relations

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German Trainee Programme

Career opportunities

As a child she dreamt of adventures in space; as a teenager she attended space conferences; she went on to become a trainee at ESA; and today she is a...

Kick Off Meeting for the German Trainee Programme 2010